Passport scanners in Australia and New Zealand crashed after UK telecoms failure

Passengers in Australia and New Zealand were left facing long check-in delays after passport systems crashed following the failure of an unnamed UK telecoms provider.

We’d expect the provider is part of the ‘Five Eyes’ intelligence alliance

The disruptive problems were reported early morning in Australia and the country’s Department of Immigration and Border Protection claimed the issue was attributable to “an external system outage with the Society International Telecommunications Aeronautiques (SITA) system.”

A brief statement from SITA explained in further detail what occurred:

“We experienced a network connectivity issue which resulted in systems provided for border control being disrupted between 21:19 GMT and 00:09 GMT.”

“This was caused by a major telecom failure in the UK of a top provider to our datacenter. In response, we implemented an alternative communications link and resumed services.”

“This incident was not due to a cyber attack.”

A pretty standard response, but what stands out is that Australian and New Zealander passport control is reliant on a UK telecoms provider.

Passport systems crashed following the failure of a UK telecoms provider.

If travel data about passengers is passing outside local jurisdiction to data centers in other countries – there’s a good chance the passport control system is part of a data-sharing initiative. We’d expect the provider is part of the ‘Five Eyes’ intelligence alliance which comprises of Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States.

We’ll keep you updated if this story develops further.

Should passport control be as reliant on foreign telecoms providers? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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